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Animal Welfare Student Scholars’ Meeting 2018

cartoonWednesday 12th December 2018
University of Glasgow, McCall Building, School of Veterinary Medicine, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1BD

Featuring talks by students who undertook UFAW & HSA*
(Dorothy Sidley) Animal Welfare Student Scholarships in 2018.

* UFAW’s sister charity, the Humane Slaughter Association

An important skill of any scientist is not just the ability to plan and carry out high quality research but also to be able to communicate their findings to others. Accordingly, as part of the valuable learning experience provided by the UFAW Animal Welfare Student Scholarships, we ask that all scholars give a talk on their research to an audience of their peers.

This year the scholarship meeting was held at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow on December 12th. An appreciative audience made up of staff and students from Glasgow, Myerscough College, and elsewhere listened to talks on a range of subjects. Amongst these were Theresia Bishof (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria) talking on her attempts to better understand and increase the use of the creep area in piglets. Emily Hendry (University of Glasgow, UK) looked at the insights gained from the sue of infrared thermography on footpad dermatitis in broilers and Nicole Regan (Royal Veterinary College, UK) explored how drugs used to treat epilepsy in dogs impacted on their food-motivation and could lead to issues with obesity. Adele Aynsley (Aberystwyth University, UK) also discussed the issues she encountered in trying to develop an automated system to investigate depression in horses.

The meeting also featured a talk by Professor Georgia Mason (Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, University of Guelph, Canada) on some of her recent work. In a fascinating, insightful and compelling presentation, Professor Mason detailed how she and her students have used phylogenetic comparative methods to gain an insight into animals and their needs. Building on her longstanding interest in captive carnivores, she explained how a species' natural ranging behavior impacts their ability to adapt to captivity, with animals like the polar bear that range over very large areas annually being highly predisposed to showing stereotypic route-tracing. She presented new results from her student Miranda Bandeli, investigating what is it about being wide-ranging that makes such species hard to keep. For example, is it that they need to walk long distances every day? Is it that they have large hippocampi, a part of the brain responsible for spatial memory and navigation? Is it simply their nomadic lifestyle? Professor Mason explored the case for each of these, and other, hypotheses.

Professor Mason is one of the leading international animal welfare scientists currently active and a winner of the UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science. 

At the meeting, in addition to giving a talk on her research, scholar Freija Maulbetsch (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) was also awarded the Farm Animal Care Trust scholarship, given in memory of Ruth Harrison, for her project “Chilled or bored? Inactivity in fattening cattle”. Freija was presented with a copy of Ruth Harrison’s seminal work “Animal Machines” in recognition.

UFAW would like to thank Dr Dorothy McKeegan, Chanakarn Wongsaengchan and their colleagues at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow for kindly agreeing to host this meeting, to the student scholars who presented their work and to all those who helped them with their studies. Thanks also to everyone who attended the meeting to listen to the presentations, especially Louise Bell and the Myerscough students for their support.